Monday, February 28, 2011

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Eat Breakfast at McDonald's...

McDonald's recently introduced Fruit and Maple Oatmeal.

Finally, something for us Clean Eaters on the go. Official ingredients listed are "100% natural whole grain oats, brown sugar, and cream topped mixed with diced fresh apples, dried cranberries, and regular and golden raisins."

However, analysis by researchers has revealed that this little 9 oz cup has more sugar than a Snickers bar, and only 10 fewer calories than an Egg McMuffin or a plain cheeseburger. Even without the brown sugar - it still has more calories than a plain hamburger.

McDonald's has been billing this as "a bowlful of wholesome." I'd call it a bowlful of Bad Food.

I'm pointing this out because sometimes as Clean Eaters we get blinders on to foods like these.
"Oatmeal - what could be more wholesome than that? I can eat that."

Once again - eyes open. Read labels, question what you are eating. Be aware that advertising is exactly that. I want you as a Clean Eater to look at what you are about to put in your mouth and question what you are being told about it. Question the Cleanliness of it. Question whether the food will add to you nutritionally and make your machine run better - or whether it will just gum up the works.

Edited to add: Oh, and I forgot to mention...what will this little slice of diabetic coma set you back? About $2.25 in most cities. Considering that an equal serving of homemade oatmeal is about .25, McDonal's is getting you coming AND going on this one. 

Organic Food Labels

I found this fairly helpful explanation of organic food labels over at while looking for something completely different. It's a really clear and simple explanation of those confusing labels that seem to be popping up on all kinds of products.

Here's a crash course in label reading from Consumer Reports:

What to buy 



"100% Organic." Translation: By law, a product with this label has to be made entirely of certified organic ingredients, produced in accordance with federal organic standards, and include no synthetics.
Conclusion: You get what you pay for. 

"Organic." Translation: Products bearing this label are required to contain no less than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining 5%: Non-organic and synthetic ingredients.

Conclusion: Good and (mostly) good for you.

"Made with Organic Ingredients." Translation: These products contain a 70/30 split of organic ingredients and other non-organic products that have been approved by the USDA
Conclusion: The good stuff, plus a little extra.

What to avoid

"Free-range" or "Free-Roaming." Translation: For many of us, these words evoke images of chickens free to roam the broad expanses at will. Don't be fooled. This label (stamped on everything from eggs to chicken and meat) does not necessarily mean that animals have spent most of their lives outdoors. To label a product "free-range" or "free-roaming," producers have only to offer the animals outdoor access every day for an "undetermined period"-- which can mean as little as five minutes.

Conclusion: Use with caution.

 ( This actually upset me a bit. I always had this nice image of chicken running around in a large pen or around the prairie. This "undetermined period" could mean just about anything. )

"Natural" or "All Natural." Translation: These labels can mean many things. In the case of meat, they mean that the manufacturer claims to have used no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or synthetics. When it comes to nonmeat products, the label is largely meaningless because there is no accepted definition of "all natural."

Conclusion: Don't confuse all natural with organic.

"Organic labels on seafood." Translation: This label can be applied at will, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set no standards for organic seafood.

Conclusion: Don't believe the hype.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three Reasons To Rethink That Diet Coke

One thing I hear, over and over from people ( women AND Men ) as we discuss Clean Eating, and the great results both in weight and health I've experienced, is a variant on the following.:

"You don't drink soda? Not at all? Oh, I wish I could stop drinking Diet Coke."
"I eat really healthy , barely anything processed - but I couldn't give up Diet Coke."
" I am a Diet Coke fiend!"

Over and over, I hear some form of the phrases above.

There are 3 very valid reasons to use your logical brain and put aside diet sodas of all kinds. This article Artificial Sweetened Beverages: Cause for Concern recently appeared in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association - the US' leading medical journal and association.

Boiled down, it says:

1. Our body gets confused by artificial sweeteners – the dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed saccharin actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose.

2. We’re “Infantilizing” our taste sense – Artificial sweeteners are a hundredfold sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). By getting ourselves used to so much sweet, normal sweet flavors, of fruit for example, become bland and so do other healthful foods such as grains and vegetables, thus reducing our willingness to consume them and ultimately the quality of our diet.

**I can attest to #2. My taste buds have changed so dramatically that now, I find fruit and vegetables sweet and my mouth recognizes and registers pleasure from eating them - not from junk food and soda like before.

3. Long term effects unclear – while there have been many studies on artificial sweeteners and disease such cancer, very few focused on long term weight gain. A seven year study, (San Antonio Heart Study), showed a relationship between diet drink consumption and obesity, but the causation is not clear. Consumption of artificial sweeteners is growing yearly. There are studies currently underway right now to back up findings that there is a direct link between diet soda consumption and increased stroke risk.

Think about it. These 3 points above equal a food that is unclean. It messes with your body's natural response to food - interrupting the machinations built in so you crave wholesome, natural foods - and subvert it to crave junk food...increasingly sugary, fatty, unhealthy food. Reason enough to leave it be. But the kicker is: scientists are now pinning diet soda consumption on multiple real health concerns : obesity, cancer, strokes.

I used to have a love affair with Diet Coke. I'm really glad we broke up.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Product Review: Seapak Salmon Burgers

 Google Search Term Users: Please note: I've retracted this post and can no longer promote their consumption - please see this post here: SeaPak Salmon Burgers - a Retraction

Today I tried Seapak brand salmon burgers for the first time. Normally about $8.99 for a box of 4 burgers ( pricey! ), they are on sale this week at my grocery store - Buy 1 box, get one free. Seeing as how I had two $1 off coupons as well - I got 2 boxes for $6.99: a much better deal.

Each 91 gram salmon patty provides 110 calories, 5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of which is saturated (7% and 4% of the daily value), 340 mg cholesterol (12% of the DV), 340 mg sodium (12% of the DV), no fiber or sugars and 16 grams of protein with a smoky taste and a vaguely meatloaf like consistency once grilled. I was not put off by that consistency. They come 2 in a plastic vac bag, frozen solid. I let a pack thaw overnight, and grilled them on my George Foreman grill for lunch today. Be advised they are a raw product. You can't grab a pack and bring to the office unless you've got a full kitchen there.

The ingredients are salmon, water, contains 2% or less of autolyzed yeast extract, canola oil, garlic powder, garlic, grill flavor (from sunflower oil), lemon juice concentrate, natural food coloring (beet juice, citric acid), natural smoke flavor, onion powder, paprika, rosemary, salt, soybean oil, tapioca dextrin, white pepper. I'm wondering what "grill flavor" might be, however...

These were tasty dressed as you would a regular hamburger  - lettuce, onion, tomato. I chose a thin smear of mayo on mine ( I know, I know! ) and I really liked it.

A thumbs up; will buy again to add some more variety to my diet.

Newstand Alert: Clean Eating Magazine March 2011

Always one who is distracted by shiny objects, while in the grocery store today I passed by the newstand and saw the new issue of Clean Eating Magazine, March 2011. Needless to say, it took a lot of focus to stick the errand at hand and not stop to peruse.

In this month's issue:

* A really nice collection of 15 minute meals - simple, easy and clean.
* A fantastic discussion on herbs, and recipes that focus on individual herbs ( You know, I don't know if I've ever used chevril... )
* A useful discussion on different rice cookers available, and 3 rice varieties you might not have tried

Friday, February 25, 2011

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken With Ginger and Yogurt

How beautiful a curry is this? CE Eve friend and reader North sent me this great recipe he made for his family from this month's issue of Real Simple magazine. He reports it is delicious, and recommends using gold curry for a zestier, richer curry flavor. Adjust as necessary to suit your tastes.


  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablesppon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10)
  • kosher salt / sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice ( original recipe calls for white... )
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt ***
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Note: Original recipe calls for fully fatted, whole milk Greek yogurt. Look at the fat grams in a cup of that stuff, and decide for yourself whether or not to use the "high test" Greek yogurt or opt for low or no fat yogurt. 



  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together the tomato paste, garlic, curry powder, ginger, cumin, and ¾ cup water. Add the onion and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Just before serving, add the yogurt and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions. 

Thanks, Real Simple!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Healthy Cooking Lesson : How to Cook a Tuna Steak

Cooking tuna steaks is relatively easy, yet few people try it at home. Don't mistake this for the tuna you get from a can; it is much , much different.  A neutral oil like canola or a light olive oil, a little seasoning...and you are good to go. Don't overcook your tuna; it's really not as flavorful when cooked all the way through.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snacking Smart

The concept of snacking on most diets is frowned upon - "3 squares a day, no extras!"

 Clean Eating requires it. Demands it. You will be able to maintain more wholesome choices at your traditional meals if in between, you chose smart snacks that are enough to tide you over but are unprocessed ( to abide by the Clean requirement ) and low in fat/calories.

Some facts:
Snacking keeps your metabolism humming.
Research suggests that, like a charge for a battery, eating about three meals a day with two or three snacks in between can make your metabolism more efficient. Think of your metabolism like a little fire in your stomach.

A little food is the fuel you throw into the fire to keep it burning strong .For some people, that means stoking it every 2½ hours; for others, it’s every 3½ hours. The point is never to let your energy wane or to go without a bite for so long that you get very hungry.

Snacking helps you eat less at mealtimes. 
If you wait until you’re so ravenous that you would eat the kitchen table, you’ll wind up eating way more calories when you do finally sit down for supper. Experts suggest choosing a snack that has roughly 100 to 200 calories (a meal should start at about 300). Make sure it fills you up with a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Together they stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling satisfied. If a snack is high in refined carbs or sugar, your blood sugar will jump, then crash, leaving you feeling tired and even more hungry.

Snacking put you in a good mood
When blood sugar levels get too low, you can become irritable and have trouble concentrating. So for mood control and cognitive and metabolic efficiency, healthy snacking between meals helps. Make sure you snack on something that makes you feel happy - don't eat prunes unless you actually like prunes.

Snacking foils the strongest cravings
If you have a snack before going to an event where you know unclean or inappropriate foods will be served, having a snack before hand will help you resist the nagging cravings you might experience when faced with that inappropriate food.
Strategy is better than willpower.

Snacking ensures you get all of your vitamins
Picking up a small apple and a few cubes of cheese between lunch and dinner will go a long way to supplement your diet. A handful of nuts, a yogurt - all will help supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals.

Bad "Food"

Bad processed foods come in all shapes and sizes. I found this to be more than just difficult to swallow; there are 3 foods on here I used to eat on a regular basis! ( I'll leave you to guess which 3 they are... )

1. Judging by the label, Marie Callender’s (16.5 oz) Chicken Pot Pie has 520 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 800 mg of sodium. But look again. Those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as most people probably do, and you’re talking 1,040 calories, 22 grams of saturated fat (more than a day’s worth), and 1,600 mg of sodium (an entire day’s worth).

2. Can’t decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. Now you can order not just one entrée, but two … or three … all at once. Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy – Homemade Lasagna, Lightly Breaded Chicken Parmigiana, and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo – comes with 1,450 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 3,830 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (150 calories and 400 mg of sodium) and a plate of Garden-Fresh Salad with dressing (350 calories and 1,930 mg of sodium) and you’ll consume 2,000 calories (an entire day’s worth) and 6,160 mg

3. On average, a cup of Campbell’s Condensed soup has 850 mg of sodium. That’s half a day’s worth … assuming you eat only one of the 2½ servings that the label says the can makes. Campbell’s Healthy Request and Select Harvest, Progresso Reduced Sodium, and Healthy Choice slash the sodium to the 400s. Look for lower sodium lines in the 100s to 300s by Amy’s, Imagine Foods, Pacific Natural Foods, and Tabatchnick.

4. Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 970 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat, and 2,200 mg of sodium as three 6-inch Subway BLT Classic Subs! Getting the burrito with no cheese or sour cream cuts the saturated fat to 5½ grams, but you still end up with 750 calories and more than a day’s worth of sodium. Yikes!

5. People don’t expect light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. If it weren’t served on its side, this one would stand over six inches tall. And upright or not, the slab of cake still weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. What do you get for all that heft? Just 1,670 calories and 2½ days’ worth of saturated fat (48 grams), nearly all of it from chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour, and butter.

6. No one thinks of cinnamon rolls as health food. But each Pillsbury Grands! Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll with Icing has 310 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat plus 2½ grams of trans fat (more than a day’s worth) and 6 teaspoons of sugar. Companies are dumping their partially hydrogenated oils left and right, yet Pillsbury still makes most of its rolls and biscuits with the stuff.

7. “Excellent source of ALA Omega 3,” declares the Land O’Lakes Margarine box. Who knew that Land O’Lakes stick margarine was so heart healthy? It isn’t. Each tablespoon of the spread has 2½ grams of trans fat (more than an entire day’s limit) and 2 grams of saturated fat. And beware of other trans-filled sticks by Blue Bonnet, Parkay, Country Crock, Fleischmann’s, and Imperial. At least those brands don’t imply that a bit of ALA outweighs the harm caused by the margarine’s trans and saturated fat. Shopping tip: Look for tub margarines – most have little or no trans fat.

8. The Starbucks Venti (20 oz) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It’s worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose 130 calories and two-thirds of the bad fat if you order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

9. An average halfcup serving of Häagen-Dazs ice cream squeezes half-a-day’s saturated fat and a third-of-a-day’s cholesterol into your artery walls and makes a 300-calorie down-payment on your next set of fat cells – if you can stop at a petite half-cup!

10. Cold Stone Creamery’s Oh Fudge! shake (chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 1,250 calories for the “Like It” (16 oz) size. That’s more than a large (32 oz) McDonald’s Triple Thick Chocolate Shake. The “Love It” (20 oz) has 1,660 calories and the “Gotta Have It” (24 oz) reaches 1,920 calories (an entire days’ worth) and 69 grams of saturated fat (3½ days’ worth). It’s two 16 oz T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 24 oz cup.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

.50 / 1 Green Giant Frozen Vegetables - ANY

Green Giant - .50 off 1 bag, any variety

Since Green Giant frozen vegetables often go on sale for $1 a bag in my area, this means free frozen veggies - my favorite variety of veggie!

Click on the banner in the lower right hand corner - if you hit the Back button after the coupon prints and hit "resend", you can print the coupon a second time...perfectly legit.

( Just make sure you buy the kind without any added sauces or seasonings...JUST the veggies! )

Where is Your Oatmeal?

What is for breakfast this morning? Stuck in a yogurt rut ( like me? ) or just grabbing some fruit? It's cold outside and your body would like a kick start from the slumber the night before. Oatmeal is Clean and ready in minutes.

1) Oatmeal is natural and nearly unprocessed.
Oatmeal is healthy and natural for one basic reason – it’s made entirely of oats, which are very healthy grains. And even better, the oats are nearly unprocessed. That’s what really sets oatmeal apart from cereals that come out of a box.(Those cereals are usually just white flour plus some added nutrients to make it appear healthy, when in actuality most nutrients were already stripped out of the ingredients during the processing.)
Steel cut oatmeal is preferable to regular - but regular can make for a faster prep and any oatmeal is good oatmeal - so don't sweat it if you buy regular over steel cut.

2) Oatmeal keeps you full.
Oatmeal keeps you full longer than most other foods. Since the oats are whole grain, there’s plenty of fiber, which helps you feel satiated. Oatmeal “sticks to your gut” as they say.

3) Oatmeal is packed with protein, fiber, and tons of good nutrients.
While there are lots of carbs, oatmeal also contains protein, fiber, and other important nutrients. Among others, one beneficial nutrient is that soluble fiber which may reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one) without lowering HDL cholesterol (the good one.) Oatmeal is high in manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and Vitamin B1.

4) Oatmeal makes a great conduit for fruit.
Besides oatmeal, fruit is also great for breakfast. And oatmeal just happens to taste great with fruit mixed in!
Flavor your oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, or peaches for a great breakfast where you also get potent antioxidants and nutrients from the fruit.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Have You Tried : Aduki Beans?

I was looking for something different to try the other day, and remembered I had wanted to try aduki beans. I have seen them in the "organic canned goods" section of my grocery store, so I picked up a can to try. Not inexpensive, by the way...

Upon opening, I was surprised by how small aduki beans are - imagine a can of baked beans - miniaturized. I drained them, and then tasted them straight from the can. The only word I can use to describe them is "green." You know that fresh grass taste? The taste of green plants? That is what they taste like - very unexpected. I portioned the can in half, and heated up one half. Warm, they tasted like warm grass. Honestly? Unpleasant. I turned to the bowl of cold beans. I offered a small spoonful to my  husband. He ate them, deemed them odd, but offered that they might be good in a cold pasta or bean salad - to give a conflicting but distinct flavor. This isn't a bad observation. However...I can't say I will add these to my repertoire. I didn't care for the "green" taste. Some might like that taste - and if you do? Go for it. I do think these are an acquired taste, and they take some getting used to.

Where Is My Milk From?

Here's an interesting website to try: Where Is My Milk From?

Just enter the numerical code from the carton of milk in your fridge, and this site will identify the dairy and location where it was produced. See the "18-1000" part? That is the code. 18 designates the state, 1000 designates the dairy.

For a lark, I entered the 2 containers in my fridge - 1 organic, 1 not.

Not Organic: locally produced about 40 miles from me.

Organic: Littleton, CO.

Seriously? My organic milk traveled several thousand miles to get to me? I find that hard to believe - but the code on the carton was very clear - Colorado. Not exactly "eating green" IMO. 

I've identified the code for my state, and I think I'll be looking for that from now on...

Interesting site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Conversation with Bro-In-Law About Clean Eating and Alcohol, or "Beer Bad"

Brother in law was across the table from me at Sunday dinner. My family all knows I am a Clean Eater, and he decided he wanted to know more about CE. I obliged, gladly. We discussed the Basic Tenents of Clean Eating, what I eat, what I don't...and then we got to the deal breaker.

Brother in Law ( hereafter referred to as BIL ): What about alcohol?

Me: Alcohol is considered unclean.

BIL: Why?

Me: Anything that doesn't provide nutritional value - something that is either negative to your system , or neutral, can be considered unclean. Alcohol has little nutritional value - so...unclean.

BIL: Beer is water, hops, barley - clean, right?

Me: In technical terms, yes - but beer doesn't really have nutritional benefits. It doesn't "add" to you, other than giving you a beer belly. The alcohol in it is really...bad for your system.

BIL: Beer makes me happy. I don't want to give it up. Doesn't something that makes your body happy count for something?

Me: *rolls eyes* Think of your body as a machine. It needs top grade fuel to function. Give it 93 octane: fruit, veg, lean meat - and it purrs like the day it rolled out of the factory. Give it 78 octane: fast food, Pop*Tarts, bacon - beer...and you gum up the works. You lower the life of the engine. It needs more maintenance, more effort - but in the end - shorter life span.

BIL: I eat very Cleanly.

Me: Eating few processed foods is a great start - but basically spending multiple nights a week after work with your buddies at the sports bar chugging whatever is on draft is not the best way to treat your body, is it?

BIL: I pick up a lot of chicks, which is great for my body.

Me: You really are a pig, aren't you.

BIL: Seriously - no alcohol?

Me: Bottom line, alcohol isn't Clean. Now, some Clean Eaters will allow themselves a glass of wine a month, or a mixed drink, or a beer - but not every day. Not every night.

BIL: *sigh*

I ended up sounding preachy - and I apologized to him later. But, the point is still valid. Alcohol - beer, hard liquor, wine - all are not clean. I'm sorry, there is no way around it. Most people who are CE for a long time find the semi-annual beer or wine or mixed drink - and only 1 - to be more than enough.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

White Bean and Roasted Chicken Salad

I like beans, and I like chicken. I like recipes that can use leftovers. This one seems to fit the bill nicely. Lean proteins, veggies, flavor. Clean.

Cannellini beans, or white kidney beans, are smaller than Great Northern beans and add just the right texture. Great for picnics or lazy-day suppers, this salad stirs together in a flash.
Yield: 5 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)


  • 2  cups coarsely chopped skinless, boneless chicken
  • 1  cup  chopped tomato
  • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3  cup  sliced fresh basil
  • 2  (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4  cup  red wine vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced


To prepare salad, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir gently to combine.
To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over salad, tossing gently to coat.

Thank you, Cooking Light!

Have You Tried: Cactus Pear?

The bounty of exotic and different fruit in most larger grocery stores begs to be tried, at least once. You might find a new favorite if you reach beyond your comfort zone with fruits and veggies and try something new. Adding a new Clean food is a very good thing!

Have you tried...Cactus Pear (Prickly Pear)

Origins: Cactus pears are popular in Mexico, the American Southwest, the Mediterranean, South Africa and Israel. Native Americans once considered the fruit a delicacy.
Description: With an intense flavor similar to watermelon and ripe berries, cactus pears can be peeled and eaten raw, or pureed for sauces, desserts and drinks. Their syrup can be used for jelly, jam and candy. Cactus pears have a firm, meaty texture with small, crunchy (edible) seeds.
Lore: Israel natives earned the nickname “sabras” because they supposedly resemble a cactus pear — rough on the outside, but sweet on the inside.
Key Nutrition Value: Along with being high in vitamin C, magnesium and fiber, a recent study found that cactus pear extracts contain antioxidants that can improve oxidative stress. Another study in the Nutrition Journal found that cactus pear extracts may help to prevent cancer.
   Cactus pears are 99% of the time "de-spined" before they reach grocery stores - so you probably   don't need to know how to de-spine them.  Simply wash, and using a paring knife remove the skin leaving as much flesh as you can, and enjoy.

Then go HERE to take a fun, quick 11 question quiz about obscure fruits - I got 7 out of 11...I think I should have studied more!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in foods labeled "diet" or "sugar free". Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors. Read more about the dangers of Aspartame here.

Found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the "I'm full" function which explains the effects of weight gain.

Found in: Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats

4. Trans Fat

Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.

Found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

5. Common Food Dyes

Studies show that artificial colorings which are found in soda, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage

Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission

Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)

Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

Found in: Wine and dried fruit

7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.

Found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

8. BHA and BHT (E320)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

10. Potassium Bromate

An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Found in: breads

Thank you,

Clean Eating Swap Outs : Salad Dressing

I continue to struggle to find an acceptable Clean salad dressing. Here's a recipe that may be as close as you can get to a traditional bottled ranch dressing. A good Clean Eating salad dressing is good to find!

Traditional ranch dressing is full of weird ingredients like xanthan gum (which keeps the dressing thick yet pourable), disodium phosphate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, MSG (a flavor enhancer), and calcium disodium EDTA (a preservative).

The homemade version, courtesy of Ellie Krieger's site, Healthy Living With Ellie

2 tbs has only 50 calories instead of the 150 in the bottled dressing - and the sodium level is 70 mg, instead of over 250 mg for the bottled.


  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or
    1/3 cup plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh chives
  • salt to taste

If using regular yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with a paper towel and set the strainer over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain and thicken for 20 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the strained or Greek-style yogurt with the remaining ingredients.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quote of the Day on Clean Eating

Hey - one of the Big 4 weighs in on Clean Eating:

Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.

- Buddha

We control what happens to us. We control whether the body we've been given is a healthy, vital machine...or a broken down piece of carp. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marinated Raisins

I'm always looking to add a little something different to my cooking - a signature dish, something with flair - something differrent.

This afternoon as I enjoyed a handful of raisins at my desk, a co-worker mentioned his wife marinates raisins and then serves them with chicken, or veggies and they are really good. He mentioned a few herbs ( he's not a cooking sort of guy... ) and left it at that.

I found this recipe on the Sun-Maid Raisin site site that sounds exactly like what was described to me. I'l eager to try these.

Stir into caramelized sweet yellow onions and use as a pizza topping with mozzarella and goat cheese; or fill appetizer phyllo cups, top with goat cheese and bake until warm; or spoon into baked acorn or butternut squash halves.
For a tasty side dish, toss with roasted carrots during last 5 minutes of baking.


3/4 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt


COMBINE all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl.
MICROWAVE on high power 30 to 45 seconds, until warm.
REFRIGERATE 30 minutes or until cool.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

100 Ways to Cook a Sweet Potato

I like to share other nifty websites I've found. After a conversation today about sweet potatoes, I knew I'd be posting this website: 100 Ways to Cook a Sweet Potato.

Now obviously - some of these recipes won't be Clean. I'm highlighting this site so you get a feel for the sweet potato's diversity. It's a main course - it is a side - it is a dessert. It is breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Sweet potato frittata - just forget about adding the ham there, buddy boy.

Parsnip, Sweet Potato, and Bulgar wheat - looks kinda yummy, no?

Browse through the 100 pics and click on one that amuses you. Pick a recipe that can be scrubbed Clean - and you've got a winner.

C'mon - you know Sweet Potato sushi is very cool!

Clean Eating Petite Lasagnas

How amazingly cute are these little guys? Last night I was Stumbling around the Internet I came upon a cooking site where someone had bookmarked these gorgeous little lasagna bites.

I was instantly intrigued. I like Italian food. I like little personal sized portions. How cute would these be for a party? Then I scanned the recipe - it was essentially Clean!

Petite Lasagnas

recipe slightly adapted from Hungry Girl
(makes 12)
12 oz raw ground turkey
¼ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped mushrooms
14.5 oz can organic crushed tomatoes, or organic / homemade tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp dried oregano, divided
½ tsp dried basil
1 ½ cups part skim organic ricotta cheese
24 small square wonton wrappers (the kind near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce dept - make sure you read the label to chose a brand that is simply made)
1 1/2 cups organic shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.
Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.

Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the turkey tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.

Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.

Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve!

My inner Italian Girl gives a huge thank you to Can You Stay For Dinner? for this unique and Clean recipe - and the fantastic photography. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Organic Food Coupons

It used to be that coupons for natural or organic foods were few and far between. As more Americans are cleaning up their diet and going Clean / Natural / Organic, manufacturers have responded in kind with an explosion of food choices. Now mind you, some of these Organic choices aren't Clean - but I've found a wonderful website to start saving you some money when you go to the store. is a wonderful resource for the Clean Eater who is looking to save money while grocery shopping. Let's face it; organic food IS more expensive than processed junk.

If you are new to the world of IPs ( Internet Printables, as these coupons are called ), read Alison's great advice on the home page first. Then, explore her site and the hundreds of links she provides to products you've seen in the stores but may have passed by due to cost. I promise - if used faithfully, IPs can bring the cost of your groceries way down.

Tip: Before you go and print half of an ink cartridge full of coupons, find out if the stores you plan on using them at take IPs. This will be somewhere in their coupon policy online, or just ask at the Customer Service Desk. Most stores take them now - but there are some hold outs.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Clean Eating Sunday Prep Day

I use my Sundays to get myself ready for the upcoming week so I don't have any excuses to stray off path.

What have I done?

1. Went to the grocery store and purchased foods for the upcoming week: eggs, turkey burgers, salad making stuff, Greek yogurt, fruit, chicken breasts, etc.

2. I came home and started processing my purchases.

- Boiled the dozen eggs
- Grilled the 4 turkey burgers on the George Foreman grill; they are cooling on the counter so they can be packaged up.
- Butterfly cut the chicken to make 2 pieces out of 1 breast ( chicken breasts these days are huge and the portion is too much ) and they will go on the George Foreman next.
- Hulled and sliced 1 lb of strawberries ( on sale! ) for addition to the Greek yogurt for this week's breakfasts
-Separated my bananas ( Thanks, Violent Indifference for the tip! ) to slow ripening so the bananas will last the upcoming week
-Cleaned and washed the peppers, cucumber, etc for this week's salads. I don't cut them until I use them - so I bring a whole pepper, 1/2 cucumber, etc to work with me for chopping just before I eat.
-Bought a small cantaloupe ( expensive in winter but I've been craving! ) and cut it into chunks - stored in 3 separate containers in the fridge. Just right for slipping one into my lunch bag.

Sirloin and Peppery Tomato Reduction

When I saw this recipe for sirloin with a pepper tomato reduction, I instantly thought of my friend Violent Indifference's Grand Marnier Steak recipe he got from another blogger and raved about. Well, I don't drink alcohol, and alcohol isn't clean - but I've been thinking about this steak since then. For VI to rave about it like this - it must be good. So when this recipe came along - I knew it would be something for my CE repertoire.
( I don't have a pic of the steak just yet - but this is the closest thing I could find. Mentally substitute those brussel sprouts for squash - and you get the idea. )


  • 1 tsp red chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Spices, Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 16 oz Boneless Sirloin Steak
  • 1 medium Zucchini (raw) - cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium Yellow Squash - cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium Yellow Onion - quartered and separated
  • 1/2 cup Tomatoes Diced
  • 1/2 c Water
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. In a small bowl combine chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of steak and press lightly to adhere. Let stand for 10 mins.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, tilting skillet to lightly coat bottom. Add zucchini, squash and onion and cook for 3-4 mins. or until just tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Sprinkle mixture with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and place in a medium bowl and cover to keep warm.

3. Grill steak either on your gas/charcoal grill to desired doneness, or broil 4-6 minutes per side depending on doneness.

4. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: In a bowl combine diced tomato, water, worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes.

5. Place steak on a cutting board to rest. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add sauce mixture to pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-4 mins or until reduced to 1/4 cup liquid, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tsp olive oil and serve over steak, with squash onion stir fry on the side.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: Clean Eating Quick and Easy Meals

If you are able, try and get your hands on this limited edition magazine stand issue of Quick and Easy Meals by Clean Eating Magazine. It retailed for $9.99 and sold on newstands at the end of last year. I was fortunate to pick one up.

Like all of the CE products, this one is beautifully photographed,  well researched, and has delicious recipes. Many great CE recipes - there are 8 separate sections for recipes:

School Lunches ( Nut free )
Afternoon Snacks
Under 5 Ingredients ( I love clean AND simple! )
Budget Friendly
Weekend Brunch
Brown Bag Work Lunches ( awesome )

If you can't find it locally, place an order for it through Clean Eating's website: Clean Eating Maqgazine : Books Marketplace - Definitely worth it if you are looking for more CE recipes or are stuck in a food rut. Definitely worth it if you are starting out in CE - there are a lot of great tips, and from reading the easy recipes will get a good overview of Clean Eating.

Real vs Fake, Part IV - Chocolate

Chocolate - real, honest, dark chocolate - is kind of clean. Ingredients? Ground and tempered cocoa beans, sugar ( CE in the "It comes from the Earth" sense but white sugars are so overprocessed as to be unclean ... ), milk, lecithin ( a naturally occurring fatty lipid that binds chocolate ingredients together ), flavorings like vanilla, and maybe veg oil.

Now, most people who are CE only use cocoa powder, as it is much healthier and cleaner than bar chocolate. It adds that chocolate zing to dessert recipes that you may have forsaken in your quest for CE.

I'm not purporting real chocolate to be Clean by any means - but I am trying to relay that what you think might be chocolate isn't really chocolate at all.

Due to the tremendous increase in the cost of cocoa beans in the last 10 years, many chocolatiers have reformulated their chocolates to be a candy substance that the USDA doesn't even legally allow them to call chocolate anymore. Instead of adding pure cocoa butter to their mixes, manufacturers have learned a trick to replace much of that real cocoa butter with cheaper vegetable oils - producing "mocklate" as some call it. It looks like chocolate, kindof tastes chocolatey - but it isn't chocolate.

The removal of cocoa butter violates the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition of milk chocolate, so subtle changes have appeared on the labels of the Hershey’s products with altered recipes.

Products once labeled “milk chocolate” now say “chocolate candy,” “made with chocolate” or “chocolatey.”

Here's a tricky test that skirts the USDA rules: Which bar is real, and which is fake?

The top picture shows an old wrapper - one that represents a bar of chocolate made with cocoa butter ( and the limited but present health benefits of cocoa butter. ) 
The bottom picture shows the new wrapper - the reformulated product that is largely vegetable oil based. 

How do they get away with this? I am unsure. I'm trying to do research on it - but notice the difference in net weight on the packages. The real bar says net weight 1.55 ounces. The reformulation says 15.55 ounces. Same size bar. Why?  I'll let you know what I find. 

Here's another. Hershey's Kissables used to be labeled as candy coated milk chocolate. because of the extreme reformulation, they now must be called chocolate candies:

Just a visual wake up here. When you look at processed foods, the wrapper can say a lot of misleading things to make you think you know what you are eating. Be watchful, be mindful. You may think a processed food is Clean. Read the ingredients, do research, and make the decision for yourself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Series: Clean Eating Swap Outs

One thing I've been thinking about is recreating favorite "convenience" foods for my family. So, here is the first post in my new series:Clean Eating Swap Outs

First up: Fish Sticks

My son loves fish sticks, and weaning my family away from the packaged convenience foods I'd grown accustomed to has been...slow. My son is definitely missing the fish sticks.

Factory produced:

Processed fish sticks are made from minced bits of fish, stuck together with starches, fillers, and artifical flavorings that actually mask the natural taste of the fish. They are normally sprayed with oil to achieve that nice golden brown in your oven. 

And home made:

Make a double batch of these, and freeze one batch so you have them ready for a quick weeknight meal.

Fish Stick Recipe

Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2010


  • 1/5 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose almond or whole grain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp natural / organic mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 24 oz cod, skinless, 1 to 1/2 inches thick


  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat the baking sheet with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and parsley. Set aside.
  • Place 1/4 cup of the flour in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until combined, then whisk in the remaining 5 tablespoons flour until smooth. Spread the bread-crumb mixture in a third shallow dish.
  • Pat the cod fillets dry with paper towels and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge the cod in the flour and shake off the excess. Coat the cod with the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Coat all sides of the cod with a thick layer of the bread-crumb mixture, pressing to help the crumbs adhere. Lay the cod on the baking sheet.
  • Bake the cod until the thickest part registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 18-25 minutes. Using a thin spatula, transfer the cod to individual plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

Quote of the Day on Beginning Clean Eating

This is one of those quotes that applies to a lot of things - but it is particularly good for the beginning Clean Eater.

Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
- Saint Francis of Assisi

Start Clean Eating slowly. Remove some of the most potently hazardous foods from your diet - those ones you know aren't good for you : soda, fast food, fried food, candy. Get used to the removal of these items. Then, conquer areas one at a time. Always eat a doughnut with your morning coffee? Switch to a healthy muffin, or yogurt and fruit. Take the cream sauces away from dinner. One step at a time - slowly - you will clean your diet. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Product Review: JJ Flatbreads

You know me, if I have a coupon, I'll try a product that fits into my Clean lifestyle. So when I saw JJ Flatbreads on sale at my local store for $1.66 each - and then just .66 after a .50 coupon ( doubled ) - I bought some to try: 7 Grain, and garlic. They are an Old London product,the same fine folks who bring us Melba Toast.

Mt husband, a notorious snacker, was instantly intrigued as I crunched and munched on the couch. I offered him one , and he declared them absolutely delicious.



I enjoyed them and the calories ( 6 pieces, which is essentially 1 flat , has 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 200 mg of sodium ) and clean ingredient lists made me really happy. 

I definitely recommend these for that time when you need a little crispy, crunchy thing that won't break your diet. The crispy brown taste is really good, and I'm looking forward to trying the other flavors.

A Sip of Soda...

I find this poster a tad frightening...

Harmful Soda

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

7 Reasons to Actively Seek Out Organic Foods

Organic foods are healthier, produced healthier, and promote a more liveable planet. Seems like a pretty no nonsense choice to me.

1. No chemicals:
Conventionally grown crops are sprayed with significant amounts of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals are designed to kill other forms of life and you may very well be eating them. When your body can’t properly process a toxin, it’s often stored in body fat to keep it out of circulation. Organic food is certified to have been grown without the use of chemical, pesticides, and other things you shouldn't put in your body,

2. More Nutrients
There is plenty of scientific evidence showing organic food to have far greater nutrient levels than conventionally farmed food. We all know that crops get their nutrients from the soil. By ignoring the laws of nature and over farming their land, conventional farmers deplete there soil. Common sense should tell you that crops grown in depleted soil will have low nutrient quantities. Conversely, organic farming involves crop rotation and other practices that replenish the soil and keep it full of nutrients for the crops to absorb.

3. It’s Good For the Planet
The chemicals used in conventional farming kill many of the microorganisms in the soil that keep it healthy. And as I just said, conventional farmers over farm their land and deplete it of it’s nutrients. Crops that are grown in low nutrient soil are obviously less healthy. As a result, they’re more susceptible to weed overgrowth, insects, and other predators. This calls for the use of even more chemicals and fertilizers.

4. It’s Not Genetically Modified
Scientifically, the thought of genetically altering plants to grow faster, taste better, and be more resistant to disease sounds like an absolutely amazing breakthrough. It is indeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. By eating genetically engineered crops, we are introducing DNA into our bodies that we’ve never encountered during our millions of years of evolution. Who do you trust more, science or Mother Nature?
Many well respected scientists are strongly opposed to genetically modified foods because there simply isn’t enough scientific proof that it’s safe.

5. Healthier Livestock
Most conventional farmers do not feed their livestock their natural diets. Cows simply don’t eat grain in nature. They eat grass. Furthermore, the feed is grown with chemicals and sometimes contains fillers such as cardboard, cement dust, and animal carcass to make it cheaper. This results in unhealthy livestock that are routinely fed antibiotics as a preventative measure to keep them from getting sick. Many animals are also fed synthetic hormones to make them grow faster or to increase their production.

6. No Irradiation
We all know that the radiation produced by x-ray machines can be dangerous. This is made obvious by the heavy protective garments that have to be worn and the shielded room used by the technician. Food irradiation zaps food with 150 million times as much radiation. How much nutrition do you think is left in the food after that?

7. It’s Certified
The USDA has rigid requirements that must be met before a farmer or food producer can use the USDA’s certified organic emblem. Their soil is thoroughly tested and must be free of chemical exposure for at least three years. The food they produce must be free of any chemical or genetically engineered ingredients and must not have been raised or produced with any drugs or hormones. It also can’t be irradiated.

Although organic food is more expensive, you can’t put a price tag on good health. Besides, by buying less junk food, you will have plenty of extra money left over to put towards high quality organic food. Although occasional consumption of conventionally farmed food is not likely to do much harm, eating it at every meal amounts to an enormous amount of contaminated food that you put through your body.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Much Sugar Is In That?

When I started eating Cleanly, one of the first things I became aware of is the amount of hidden ( and not so hidden sugar ) in processed foods. Last night, I found this terrific website: that visually shows you the amount of sugar in your foods. A sugar cube is equal to 4 grams of sugar - so each little pyramid records the amount of sugar in your food.

I'm posting a few of their pictures here as a visual teaser, but I encourage you to browse their site. It's an incredible visual reminder of what processed foods contain, and for me, it was very helpful in keeping me in check.

A serving ( 1 tablespoon ) ketchup:

2 waffles with 1/4 c syrup:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Product Review : Pomi Tomatoes

On Saturday, I had some leftover browned ground beef which I heated up with some frozen veggie mix ( corn, peas, carrots ) and I reached for a can of tomatoes to liven it up. I noticed the little cardboard container of Pomi tomatoes I had bought on a whim, and decided to give them a try. Wow - was I delighted with the taste and freshness...from a little cardboard container! It was delicious, and I decided that I would purchase Pomi tomatoes now exclusively. In the winter when tomatoes just aren't that terrific...these were a welcome addition.

• Pomi is 100% all-natural and their tomatoes are grown without pesticides or herbicides
• Straight off the vine, fresh taste that has a long shelf life
• Pomi’s tomatoes are grown without the use of genetically modified seeds
• Pomi contains absolutely no preservatives, water added, artificial flavor, additives, or citric acid
• Low in sodium [10 mg. vs 250 – 400 mg sodium for Del Monte and Hunts]
• Non-Toxic, BPA-free and eco-friendly (
• Flavorful addition to chili, stews and soups!

You know what I liked best? I turned the container over and over, trying to find the ingredient list. It took me a moment, and then I saw, in small letters...

Ingredients: Tomatoes

That was it! No added sodium, no preservatives - nothing. This is convenience Clean Eating at its best.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Steam Broccoli for Full Health Benefits

Like to boil your broccoli until it’s dark green? You might be cooking some of the cancer-fighting power right out of it, a new study in the journal Nutrition and Cancer finds.

In the study, researchers found that the enzyme myrosinase—abundant in raw broccoli and broccoli sprouts—contributes to broccoli’s cancer-fighting properties. But many people destroy the enzyme by overcooking broccoli—which happens pretty much any time you microwave it, boil it, or use enough heat to cook something else (like an omelet or pizza)—says co-author Elizabeth Jeffrey, Ph.D. of University of Illinois.

So how can you get the most of your favorite green stuff?  Steaming your broccoli is the best way to cook it, says Jeffrey. Make sure it keeps that bright green color and only steam it for 2 to 4 minutes—if you leave them in for 6 or 7 minutes, you’ll kill the cancer-fighting enzymes.

If your kitchen’s not stocked with a steamer, try this on your stovetop. Fill a large pot ¼ to ⅓ full of water. Bring the water a boil. Then fill a smaller colander with the broccoli place it in the larger one making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Cover the larger pot for 2 to 4 minutes. The steam from the pot and the heat from the boiling water will serve as your own professional steamer.

Men's Health magazine

If You Crave...You Might Need...

I  found this nifty chart online and thought I'd repost it for my readers. I like the way this chart thinks...though the bit about water

If you crave this... What you really need is... And here are healthy foods that have it:
Chocolate Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Sweets Chromium Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken

Carbon Fresh fruits

Phosphorus Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains

Sulfur Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage

Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Bread, toast Nitrogen High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Oily snacks, fatty foods Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Coffee or tea Phosphorous Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes

Sulfur Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables

NaCl (salt) Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)

Iron Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Alcohol, recreational drugs Protein Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts

Avenin Granola, oatmeal

Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

Glutamine Supplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice

Potassium Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens
Chewing ice Iron Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Burned food Carbon Fresh fruits
Soda and other carbonated drinks Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Salty foods Chloride Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Acid foods Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Preference for liquids rather than solids Water Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Preference for solids rather than liquids Water You have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Cool drinks Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Pre-menstrual cravings Zinc Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables
General overeating Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables
Lack of appetite Vitamin B1 Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3 Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Chloride Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
Tobacco Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches

Thanks, Naturopathyworks!
Vitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetables

Product Review: Flat Out Wraps

When I first saw this wrap bread in the store, I was a little skeptical. I've been on the lookout for something other than tortillas which are usually high in sodium and low on nutrition. In my opinion - if I'm going to eat  bread like substance, I at least want it to be nutritious.

For example, Mission burrito size tortillas are 210 calories a piece, with 630 mg of salt. Yikes, and that's plain with nothing in it!

Flat Out flatbread  is a newcomer to the wrap line, and ( I think ) a better substitute for tortillas. The ingredient list is a little longer than I'd like to see - but most of it is grains of some kind and other necessary evils for pre made / factory produced bread like preservatives, etc. Malitol is a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect in large amounts, fumaric acid is a naturally occurring acid that bakers use to improve dough elasticity.


I tried the "Healthy Grain" Variety Multi-Grain with Flax. Each piece is 100 calories with 260 mg of sodium - tolerable ( but admittedly, it is a lot smaller than the Mission burrito size wrap ) and a thicker, more bread like consistency than a traditional tortilla.

Over all, I liked the taste and texture of the wrap bread, and its ovoid shape works well with wraps. I have my bag in the freezer; I won't be eating it often enough to eat the entire bag before it inevitably goes stale...but for a 1x a week addition to my tuna fish or veggie sandwich? Yes,  I'll have some on hand.

Please note: These opinions are my own, and I was not asked to review or was reimbursed for my review in any way. When you see a product review on my pages, I'll tell you what I think about it - good or bad.